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Archive for October, 2010

verse 23: “In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.”

I have tried to find the author of the following quote; some versions and memories have it as Dolly Parton and others have it as W.C. Fields, but the quote paraphrased is “I love work; I could sit and watch it all day long”. It is humorous, and we nod sympathetically along with the thought that we could all “use a break today”. As a society, our ancestors built this country up through hard work and innovation. As parents, we strive for our children to be properly educated so they can make a living without having to do some of the hard work we had to do to make that same living. There is nothing wrong with leisure time, in its proper place. But I can find no source that says we shouldn’t work. God made us to work and to do; we have that creative spirit within us from our Creator.

Depressed, I once had a heart-to-heart talk with my father; he was an old-fashioned, country-raised, blue-collar worker. He asked me, “do you enjoy your work?” I had been frustrated at that time through inner-office politics and bureaucratic red tape; I told him, “when I’m allowed to do my job…yes!” My father is not one to sit still when there is a job to be done; as he once told us on a mission trip to build a new education building for a church, “God called me down here (the mission location) to build this building.”

There is joy and satisfaction in a job done well; and yes, there is profit too. But as Solomon wrote, “mere talk leads only to poverty”. Be careful not to be all talk today.

Something to think about.

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Proverbs 14:20-22

verses 20-21: “The poor is hated even by his neighbor, But those who love the rich are many. He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.”

Thank God that He doesn’t see mankind as mankind sees himself. About the best thought I can share on this, is a passage quoted by our pastor this past Sunday from Matthew 25:34-40:

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed you, or thirsty, and give You drink?
‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
‘And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Have a blessed day!

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verse 15: “The naive believes everything, But the prudent man considers his steps.”

A memorable scene from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the one in which Indy was braving the corridor to the Holy Grail. The corridor has 3 tests or traps, according to his father’s notes. His father, dying from a gunshot wound at the entrance of the corridor, is recalling his notes, just as Indy is thinking through them. The second test, the name of God, brings Indy to a section of floor with letters carved in them. Indy reasons he must step on the letters in the proper order to safely cross; the name of God being Jehovah, he steps confidently on the “J”…and almost tumbles into a chasm underneath the crumbling letter. He realizes (as his father is reciting this knowledge to himself), that in Latin, Jehovah is spelled with an “I”. Thankfully, Indy remembers too, steps on the “I” and the following letters, and safely crosses.

My Ryrie Bible has a footnote on this, ironically stating that “the prudent man looks before he leaps”. (and for those who watched the movie, I could draw an analogy to the third test Indy faced, as well). We go through life, it seems, believing everything we hear or read. Naively, we go on that knowledge alone, and sometimes it costs us dearly. The prudent man “considers his steps”…he takes the time to check out information or verify the knowledge. We have a tested source of knowledge that we can tap every day…it’s God Word, that He has provided for our guidance throughout life’s steps. We also have the Source of that Book, the Author Himself, to consult in prayer. His Name is Jehovah, Yahweh, the great I AM. He is the Lord God Almighty. Why not consider talking to Him today…before you take that next step?

Have a blessed day!

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verse 13: “Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief.”

One of the TV shows I grew up watching was M*A*S*H. As a child I enjoyed the joking antics and cut-up humor (no pun intended) of the surgeons and staff at MASH 4077; it wasn’t until later that I understood its historical roots in the Korean War (and the movie that was its pilot). Dr. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, as played by Alan Alda, was the chief surgeon of the outfit; he was also known for his quick wit and joking manner. A line he said once in an episode stands out in my mind: someone disdainfully questioned how he could always joke and make light in the face of war and death. His reply was something like “if I didn’t joke or laugh about it, I’d be here screaming.”

Emotions are strange things. We can be happy one minute, sad the next. There are those around us who may look like they are happy, yet be masking pain and depression. The devil can use emotions to get at us, too. In the turbulent sea of emotional waters, there is a Rock. His name is Jesus. When we trust our lives to Him, He can steer us through these waters. He is with us in good times and in bad times. We should remember to always turn to Him, no matter what our emotional state.

Something to think about.

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verse 12: “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

Both of my sons enjoy playing Nintendo DS games. They even spend their money, at times, on books listing “cheat codes” for some of the games. These codes allow them to access upper levels of a game. I never understood that, because it seems like you are “cheating” (thus the name) to get to areas of the game that you would eventually get to if you just continued trying to win the game. It seems to take away the satisfaction of traveling the longer, harder path of learning the game, and being satisfied with earning your way to the win.

Today’s verse references the paths we take and the consequences of them. Both footnotes in my Ryrie Bible and the Holman concordance refer to taking a path that seems like a “shortcut to success” (Ryrie Bible). Sometimes, we take that path, only to find that it leads to a dead end or worse. To succeed in some endeavors takes hard work, time, effort, and commitment; there are no shortcuts to those successes.

To some people, accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation can seem very hard to do. You don’t have to earn your way to this victory; actually, you can’t earn it. Jesus already did the hard part. All we have to do is accept His gift, and live for Him. No cheat codes required.

Something to think about.

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verse 11: “The house of the wicked will be destroyed, But the tent of the upright will flourish.”

I had several ideas and inspirations to use for today’s verse, but the credit for today’s reflection goes to my wife, whose God-inspired observation I liked the best.

Some houses seem to look like mansions; they appear to be solid as a rock, only to find out they are not. I had to do some repair work on some aluminum siding of my house once. To casual observation, the eaves-work seemed fine until I pulled back the loosened aluminum siding to discover that the wood structure underneath was rotten; it would need to be pulled off and replaced with new wood.

Some houses are like tents; you would not think they could be sturdy enough to take shelter in. I once attended a church father-son campout on the shores of a large lake. We didn’t have a tent, so a good friend and fellow father invited us to sleep with him in his large “family size” tent. That night we had some nice “lake effect” spring winds, that made for some breezy sleeping conditions. At times, I woke up hearing the wind whistle and howl; but that tent was well-constructed, well-assembled, and anchored. It stood against that wind; my friend never worried that it would tear away.

In our society, it appears at times like the wicked prosper more than the good. They seem to live in fine houses whereas we seem to dwell in tents (an observation also found in the Holman concordance page 149). Appearances can be deceiving; the fine houses of the wicked are rotten with their wickedness, and doomed to be demolished. The tent of the righteous, though flimsier in comparison, will flourish. Jesus Himself used such an analogy in Matthew 23:27: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Something to think about today.

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verse 6: “A scoffer seeks wisdom, and finds none, But knowledge is easy to him who has understanding.”

At first, this verse seems to be a contradiction: a scoffer? seeking wisdom? The Holman concordance on Proverbs had an interesting statement about this verse on page 106: “Even a hardened sinner sometimes wants wisdom to escape an unpleasant situation, but he looks in the wrong place. A discerning person, however, gains knowledge easily because he knows the source to consult.”

Sometimes people have come to me with a question that I didn’t know the answer to; sometimes, they’ve come needing information that I didn’t have. However, I knew who might have the information they sought, so I would tell them that knowledge. Apologizing as they left, that I wasn’t able to be helpful, they would often times reply “that’s okay, you were able to steer me in the right direction.”

As Christians, we don’t always have all the answers. But we know Who does. 🙂

Have a blessed day!

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